Community members gathered at five o’clock at the Dominican Church to begin a special prayer service for people suffering from cancer. The service, held on World Cancer Day for those who are currently sick and in remembrance of those who have passed away from cancer, focused attention on God’s words of healing and God’s faithfulness in times of sickness. Attendees received a candle and a lavender ribbon upon entering the church to remember those afflicted with all types of cancer.
After a welcome from Rev. Naim Ateek, the service officially began with a hymn and prayer for health, shared by Latin Patriarch Emeritus Michel Sabbah. The congregation and clergy read Psalm 34 responsively, listened to James 5, and heard a section of Luke 6 chanted by Bishop Attallah Hanna.
Father Hanna Cinti of the Latin Church at Ein Arik shared his personal testimony of having cancer; this was then followed by a special hymn performed by Al-Raja Jerusalem Band. Dr. Tawfiq Nasir, Director of the Augusta Victoria Hospital on the Mount of Olives, briefly talked about the work of the hospital and described its status as one of the only cancer treatment options for children in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Members of the local clergy, including both English-speaking and French-speaking pastors, shared in a series of prayers as the congregation lit candles in vigil for those who are sick. The service ended with the Lord’s Prayer, another hymn, and a blessing from the clergy. Several attendees mentioned upon leaving that they found the service very meaningful, having family members who passed away from cancer.